Microwaves, char grills

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by ernestopheles, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. ernestopheles

    ernestopheles

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    Hello, I am new to these forums. I have been working at my job for about a year, but I believe myself to be at least somewhat competent at my job. I know I'm not a chef, but there isn't a linecooktalkcafe.com, so I came here :D .

    Recently I've had to train someone to be a line cook at the restaurant I am employed by. This man claims to have nineteen years more experience than I do, yet some of the things he does bothers the heck out of me. I know it's the improper way to cook things, but I need validation and reasons for why he shouldn't do this.

    This person has the tendency to mark a steak on the char grill and, if it isn't done within five minutes he microwaves it to get it done to the customer's preference. I've caught him doing this with chicken, T-bones, sirloins, ribeyes, prime rib, and last week he actually microwaved half cooked hamburgers to get them done! Also, I've noticed that I am the only person who cooks the char grilled items entirely on the char grill (char burgers, char chicken, etc) because I believe that is the best way to get the smokey char flavor. Am I right, wrong, or partially mistaken?

    I know I'm not the greatest at my job, but these are things that bother me. Unfortunately due to the amount of experience he has over me, he won't listen to me when I attempt to correct his behavior, and it gets hard reporting to management with all this without feeling like a snitch. What are the downsides (and upsides, if any) to cooking steak, chicken, and hamburger in the microwave so I can be better prepared in the future?

    -E
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    What kind of place is this? I gotta tell you, it's not uncommon to microwave chicken, but steaks, unless the customer wants it well done, is a definite no. Get over it, and I say that in the nicest possible way, and for your own sanity. It doesn't make things better to start stuff and say he's wrong, you're right, etc. Do what you know is right because it will get you further. That guy has 19 years experience and he's still a line cook. Doesn't that tell you anything?
     
  3. suzanne

    suzanne

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    First of all, welcome! I may be prejudiced, but I think you have indeed come to the right place for answers. :D

    My thought on "What are the downsides . . . to cooking steak, chicken, and hamburger in the microwave" is: None, if the customer doesn't mind eating meat-flavored rubber. :eek: :mad: Most places I worked at (including as grillman) did not even have a microwave, or it was used only for emergency prep; to me that is simply not acceptable for cooking.

    What should you do about it? First, how did your chef or supervisor teach you to cook the grilled foods? Were you told to cook it all on the grill, start to finish? Or to mark the food and finish it in a very hot oven? Either of those is fairly accepted practice. I find it hard to believe that you were told it's okay to nuke anything.

    So how about going to your chef and asking for a "refresher" for you and the new guy? If your chef balks or questions you, I think it's perfectly all right to explain why you're asking. It's not snitching, it's making sure that you serve the best possible food to the customers.

    (FWIW, some long-time line cooks get tired, and lazy; and unless they are supervised well, they will try to get away with all kinds of bad habits. Not all, and not even long-time, but a few. :( )
     
  4. ernestopheles

    ernestopheles

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    Kuan: I work at a family restaurant. The chicken breast filets that we cook there are thin and would cook within a short time on the flat grill or the char grill. We used to have some that were three times as thick and had to be microwaved to be finished. And the GM has even said that same phrase, almost- "He's got 20 years of experience and he's working here. What does that say about him Ernie?" :D

    Suzanne: I was taught to cook steaks entirely on the char grill. Whenever I had an idea on how to cook something better, I'd run it by the general manager, and I'd find out that's how we're supposed to, but my trainers were all being lazy, and teaching me the lazy way of cooking. For example, she cooks char-grilled hamburgers entirely on the char-grill, but I'm the only other cook there who does that. The GM is the closest we have to a chef there. Otherwise, a line cook gets trained by the last line cook, and they're only as good as they're trained (or as good as they're willing to question training). I am pretty much "head night cook" now, because the cooks who trained me have all quit, but I know my training isn't over. It's just that now I have to ask her about these things.

    -E
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I've probably stopped in Mauston 10 times in the last 5 years but never in any of those family restaurants. :)

    Seriously, it's not cool to microwave food like Suzanne says, but it happens. Don't be that guy, 19 years and still a line cook.
     
  6. chef_bob

    chef_bob

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    **shiver** I am not a rocket surgen :D , but I do know that some pretty funky things happen when you microwave meat. It was onced explained to me and I will be honest I forget the details, but I know the end result makes me want to cry :cry: . You are doing the right thing, stay the course. I used to have a very regular customer who said I was the only person who cooked him a well done steak that was not dry and tough. He new it would take a while, but I cooked it with pride and he was happy with the result. I have never been the type of chef who feels that those who order well done should be punished, only educated. That being said if you are in a pinch an old line cook trick (not as offensive as the nuker :eek: ) is to throw an up side down pie plate over the item on the grill. It drastically speeds things up.